NR 18-025: Cookeville workshop to address state’s need for firewood producers

Published Aug. 7, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 7, 2018) — An alliance of state, federal and non-governmental partners are sponsoring a free public workshop 9:30 a.m. to noon central time Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018 at the Leslie Town Center in Cookeville, Tenn., to show participants how to develop their own small businesses to sell heat-treated firewood to fill increasing demand at campgrounds in Tennessee and Kentucky.

During the workshop, officials will explain how pests travel in untreated firewood, talk about business opportunities to sell certified, heat-treated firewood, and share methods used in preparing firewood. To date, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee State Parks and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District campgrounds have enacted firewood policies to restrict visitors from bringing in firewood that can be infested with tree-killing pests.

The policies exist because tree-killing insects and diseases are becoming an increasing problem in Tennessee, Kentucky, and throughout the United States. These insects and diseases cannot move far on their own, and when firewood is transported in cars and trucks, theses harmful insects and diseases can jump hundreds of miles.

"As public agencies continue to protect our forests through these firewood policies, more citizens will need to have sources of safer firewood,” said Trish Johnson, director of Forest Conservation for The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee. “Heather Slayton, from the Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry, said the “participants of the workshop will have a better understanding for demand of safe firewood for public use.”

Harry Watt, guest speaker and expert from North Carolina State Extension, will be presenting. He has hosted the National Firewood Workshop six times throughout the Eastern United States, including locations in West Virginia, New York, Maryland, North Carolina and Michigan.  The partner organizations are excited to have Watt share his knowledge with Tennesseans. Staff from Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, State Parks, Army Corps of Engineers, and The Nature Conservancy are involved with the workshop.

Please register for the workshop by Aug. 30, 2018 by contacting Katie Pareigis with The Nature Conservancy at 615-383-9909 or Directions to workshop location will be provided at registration.

For information about Tennessee’s forest pests:

For more information about risks associated with movement of firewood:

For more information about where to find local or certified heat-treated firewood: 

(For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, or visit the district’s website at,on Facebook at, and on Twitter at
Lee Roberts

Release no. 18-041